Jonathan Vaughters’ Garmin-Cervélo team reached cycling’s pinnacle today at the Tour de France in Les Essarts. Four years after its race debut and eight since its start, Garmin won its first Tour stage.

Garmin beat BMC Racing, Sky and Leopard-Trek – in that order – by four seconds in the 23-kilometre second leg, a team time trial.

Vaughters saw it coming via several small steps: a Tour of Missouri stage in 2007, a team time trial win in the Giro d’Italia in 2008, three Vuelta a España stages in 2009, and two at the Giro and Vuelta each last year. This year, the big one came.

“It feels pretty incredible, we worked very, very hard,” said Vaughters.

“The team, the spirit of the team, the spirit of sacrifice is what we are about. To have this as our first win is perfect, it’s what out team stands for.”

Vaughters raced as a professional for US Postal and Crédit Agricole, and retired in 2003, the same year he planted the seeds for today’s success. The team began as 5280/Subaru and developed to become Garmin by 2008, the same year it made its debut in the Giro and Tour.

Brit Bradley Wiggins rode to fourth overall at the Tour de France in 2009 with the help of Vaughters, one year before signing for team Sky.

Sky did what it could to stop Vaughters’ team and its other rivals to win today, but failed by four seconds.

Garmin’s Thor Hushovd, who finished third in yesterday’s opening leg, gained the yellow jersey as a result the win. Despite the leader’s jersey, Vaughters promised that tomorrow (Monday) will be a day for sprinter Tyler Farrar. The American will battle Mark Cavendish for another first, a stage win after wins in the Giro and Vuelta.

Today, though, Garmin wanted to celebrate. Brit David Millar and American Christian Vande Velde lifted General Manager Vaughters on their shoulders on the Tour’s podium.

“It’s the sort of stuff we dream of,” said Millar. “Me and Christian shed a tear in the bus because four and a half years ago we were in his kitchen, talking about coming to this team and about fulfilling our dreams.”

Tour de France 2011: Related links

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index


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